tv The Communicators CSPAN December 26, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
know that we're doing everything in our power to make sure you can succeed in your missions and come home safe your families. >> merry christmas, everybody. >> i am duncan hunter, and i will present 52nd congressional district of california and around san diego. i hope we all of our purse to the men and women of the armed forces. many will spend the holidays away from home on the frontlines of iraq and afghanistan and around the world. i understand the sacrifices they are making. shortly after the terror attacks of september 11, 2001, i quit my job and joined the marine corps. prior to coming to congress, was deployed to wars on three occasions, twice in iraq, once in afghanistan. i had an opportunity to visit with our troops, and i know we
all wish everyone could be home for the holidays, but this is not a time for sadness or regret. we are proud to be americans. we want to pass on to our children the blessings of our liberty that we inherited from our forefathers, and because nothing matters more to less than protecting our homes and families. our hope is that as a result of this determination and sacrifice, we never again will see our cities and citizens under attack. i hope we also take a moment this year to reflect on those suffering here at home. for too many families, this will be a difficult christmas. one in 10 americans are unemployed. nearly 6 million citizens have been looking for work for more than six months, the most on record. all year long, republicans have offered common-sense solutions to put money into the pockets of hard-working families and help small businesses create new jobs. we have also had a plan to lower health care premiums by 10% and
a strategy to create more american jobs. the strained budgets and clean up the environment. just as important, these solutions to not raise taxes, grow government, or add to the skyrocketing debt burden being placed on our kids and grandkids. after all of the promises and spending of washington this year, out of work families are right to be asking where are the jobs. republicans believe our top priority coming to the economy should be simple. do no harm. so let's resolve in the new year to end misguided efforts creating new laws to cost more jobs, whether it is cap and trade, government health care takeover, cards checked, or more tax increases. working together but can make the next holiday season brighter for more americans. thank you, happy holidays, and god bless america and.
>> coming upper, the executive director of the fcc broadband initiative gives an update on plans to expand service in the u.s.. also on america and the courts, some excerpts from our documentary of the supreme court, home to the highest court. also, where marks from former u.s. solicitor general and attorney maureen mahoney. tomorrow on "washington journal," foreign-policy with the "washington times" and "cq weekly." after, a look at obama's first year. that is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> now available, abraham lincoln -- great american
historians on our 16th president. a great read for any history buff. it is a unique contemporary perspective on lincoln, from journalists and writers from lincoln's early years to the flight at the white house and his relevance today. in hard cover and your favorite bookseller, and now in digital audio to listen to any time, available where downloads are sold. learn more apps c- span.org/lincolnbook. >> this week, an update on efforts by the federal communications commission to develop a plan to expand broadband in the united states. our guest is blair levin, leading up the initiative at the fcc.
could you give us a status update on the report? >> sure. we have been doing status updates all along. september we laid out for the fcc kind of what we thought the state of broadband was in the united states. in november, we laid out the most significant problems. a couple of weeks ago, we laid out how to address those problems. now we are in a situation where we are busy trying to ride up our best view. we have had 30 workshops, a number of public notices were we ask orrin questions, and we are now in the process of taking that information income -- in,
trying to make recommendations, putting our country in the right path towards a healthy broadbent ecosystem over the next 10 years. >> what is the most important thing in developing this broadband the plan? >> a number of things. first, we have to make sure we connect all americans. second, we have to make sure there is a plan for having broadband be affordable. we have to have a plan to make sure that broadband is used to solve public problems, like reforming health care, saving energy, improving education and job-training. what is most important to me is that we find a way to make the congressional mandate. >> cost estimates, expanded to
the majority of americans. can you narrow down what you think the cost is right now? >> one of the things we did in september is gave preliminary cost estimates. what does it mean to build out a system to what percentage of americans at what speed question marks if we think broadband, we want to make sure 90% of americans receive a speech read -- speed of 10 megabits. it is not clear to me many private investment dollars will be needed to achieve that goal. if you want 100% of americans achieving 100 megabits, the order of magnitude is an incremental investment of about three and $50 billion, and there is a lot of variation.
do you want to go to 25 megabits? i think that view is that the market ought to drive those decisions almost everywhere, but also it is very clear there is some percentage of americans, between 5% and 10%, who are not going to receive but we think of as a minimum level of acceptable broadband, and that is where the government has to step in. that is where we look to something like a universal service to solve that problem, but part of the problem of solving the problem is that the current universal service system is broken. we have to simultaneously fix it as it is and transition it to support a broad band for the majority, and it is akin to changing the engine of the jet plane while it is in flight. but we are trying to figure out to do that. >> it would be what speed?
>> we will be discussing it with the commissioners. i think that as we talked about at the september meeting, there are a number of use cases where people generally speaking, the market today is about three megabits. the average american needs that speed to do the kinds of things most americans do. we want to have universal mechanism produce the minimum that gets us to about where we are. high-definition video, things
like that, i am not sure that is what we need, but we want to be able to do what the functions are in terms of cost, so if you move up, where do you cost a lot more money? i think it is somewhere in the order of where people are going today over the next five or 10 years. we are setting the economics, and i might not note, a lot of people say we ought to have a really big goals. when you look at the countries that have said they are doing that, what they are actually doing are things like 100 megabits, but in terms of the universe was asian goal --
universalization cole, is magnitude and that one, too, three category. >> he thought we should have 50 megabits in about five years. what do you think about that? do you think that is achievable? >> those numbers are parameters. i think his letters said actual speed instead of advertised speed. if you have it the actual, it is harder. i think it is a worthy goal. what we want to point out to decision makers like the congressman is that that is great. if you think we have a path for doing it, here is the path, but if it requires congress or the fcc to act in a certain way, it
is so. i think it is very worthy to stretch goals and see what we can do to get theire. but again, broadband is primarily a function of private endeavor. the big news will be the investment made by the cable industry upgrading their networks. that will give speeds 50 actual at peak times. peak in terms of speed, they probably can get there. the question is whether a goal like that requires a fiber upgrade, and that depends on whether people like at&t and some others decided response to cable to operate networks. -- upgrade networks. >> you have talked about broadband plans being market-
driven. i want to read criticisms from public-interest groups and get you were response. -- your response. there was no discussion of open telecommunications networks for competitors, no discussion of structural separation of carriers in wholesale and retail components. these are factors that the harvard center told the sec in a study a mere few months ago were the reasons that other countries have surpassed ours. something has to be done about the duopoly of cable and telephone companies that control virtually every broadband market in america. >> let me say that i have a respect for both public knowledge and the free press. i find the criticism not very productive. as to the ideas of unbundling and separation, the study did a
fantastic job of pointing out things going on throughout the world. but i think that we asked them to do that. but there are cases where things in some countries are not that germane to where we are going. the courts throughout bundling. we are not terribly interested in moving towards things that will just frees capital investment. that one does not strike me as that productive. i have not heard that from anyone in congress or the commission or in the record, people asking for structural separation. but i would also answer both of
them by saying one of the problems i had with the critique is that they failed to look at what was really going on in the market, and that applies to the study done by the columbia telecom think tank at columbia university. and what they are pointed out, and it is a big task, there will be two major investments involved in the networks over the next few years. one is to appeal seconds ago, cable company upgrades. the second is large phone companies upgrading the wireless networks to provide broad band of wireless. we know those things are going to happen. that is a profound change, probably the biggest change in the last five years. what we do not know is, number
one, how consumers respond. we pointed out in september, they are suddenly saying, hey, we released but the speed and we are going to move up to higher levels. cable is going to be a fabulous position. and then we will be the only provider of the generally expected broadbent. -- broadband. but it is just as possible that they will say we do not need higher speeds. we want mobility. so just will buy the slightly more expensive wireless level, but we are not that interested in the fix because we only need for megabits or five megabits. we do not know if that is going to happen, and it seems like a profound thing.
if you really do not know what is going to happen, the major surgery that those interest groups are proposing, which again, there is not much support for in the record and none in capitol hill, it have to wonder what looking at it as a practical matter, what the courts have done, if you have to ask if that is really on the table but the bigger thing is that it is not appropriate to be looking at those things when there is such uncertainty about the market. i think it is great that we have a market that is moving in a competitive dynamic. people are moving in different directions, and i think we have to wait and see what happens there. i do think that there are concerns about competition. i do not accept the criticism we are not doing anything about it, and we need to let people
know what kind of performance they are getting, what performance their neighbors are given. the spectrum initiative we have been working on, we do not know when wireless will be able to compete with wired. without it out there, though, the possibility of competition is none. and one thing that report did say is that no new fixed wired competitors are really on the horizon. so i think certain levels of concern are there. we are going to try and do all the things we think are positive, but while i have great respect for this to double organizations, i do not expect to accept the criticism as being useful at the time. >> our guest this week in blair levin, the omnibus executive
director who previously served as chief of staff to the sec chairman. our guest reporter is from the "wall street journal." >> one issue is because of the study, which the sec asked for. you say there is no support on the hill, but there was arguably not much support for net neutrality on some parts of the hill, either. >> it is -- >> it depends on the party. but when you talk about issues like this, it sounds like you're basically saying that from your perspective, open access is not an issue you think should be going down. >> that is not what i said. we asked for studies and gave complete and total editorial freedom. we simply ask for input.
we thought it was an important foundation for having a data- driven analytic record. they did a lot of things that are helpful to understanding what is going on, but it is fundamentally backwards looking. and we asked the columbia folks to be more forward-looking. on bundling, it covers eight wide spectrum of things. the court threw out certain kinds of things, but there are still some that are provided for in the wall. the large scale, let's come and go backwards to where we were in
2003, 2002, 2001. that is not practical, and the court decision definitely tied hands of the fcc. there's always a choice about whether you want to approach it, and we're trying to approach it in a way that is both visionary and practical. and the notion -- structure separation is where we have got to be heading.
at a lot of countries that the center covered, the telescope is really the major provider. here at the cable company and providing broadband. there are advantages and disadvantages to that. but that is where we are, and we plan on building a plant based on americans strengths and compensating for weaknesses. building where we are. >> basically is cable and phone companies moving forward, driving the next generation of broadbent, whether they may be doing to increase their speed, wherever we are going. tax credits or other things? >> i disagree with the promise,
because when you look at the broadband universe, you're just talking about networks. there is a function where there is competition. but what we see happening with the broader broadband system is a lot of innovation, job growth, application, those are being driven by other forces. probably the single biggest driver of growth is the iphone. it is bringing people to all kinds of uses. the demand is blowing up a huge lead. people are experiencing it in a completely different way than you experience. they were not really creating it for broadband, and that is a
stunning development. we are trying to make sure there is a better competitive dynamic. it is one device that has not seen the kind of innovation you have seen with computers or mobile devices. so that is one reason we are looking at that. we are saying this. we believe the record is very clear on this. in three or four years, our country will have a big problem with mobile broadband unless we act now to start making sure that there is more put into the
system. there are some broadcasters and that there is no evidence in the record, i did not know what they're looking at, but there is significant evidence that will occur. the consequences could be that the american mobile brought it experience -- broadband experience will be more expensive, and the service will be lousy year. when you consider the mobile platform is probably the most important platform for growth and job growth and investment in the next 10 years, this is a serious problem for the country. is a huge opportunity for america. we are extraordinarily good at applications. it is not an accident that apple and google and facebook are here. this is a tremendous
opportunity. but if we do not have the spectrum necessary to build that platform, all of that is going to go elsewhere and the great countries -- companies of the next decade will be somewhere else. that is the problem. so if you accept that, it seems clear, the question is, what do you do about it? you have the spectrum that is well-suited to alleviate the problem. we are not talking about taking away from broadcasters. we're talking about asking the question, can we create a mechanism so that as the importance of this becomes clear, we can have those broadcasters. they are using their spectrum
infrequently, if at all. almost 01 is using the entire 19.4 million bit of information stream. it is not happening. so it is an interesting debate. we're trying to figure out solutions. if they think it is worthwhile to keep all of theirs and are making a market-based decision, that is ok. others feel that it is not created over the air stream. 80% to 90% is being greeted by the transmission over cable and satellite. so the value is people tend to put it in a binary framework. we either have it or we are dead, and that is not in it.
businesses are always shifting the value of assets. as a country, the investment of this is possibly the most significant it makes. the value of assets that broadcasters control is an asset that belongs to people in the united states. the order of magnitude is 60 to $80 million. that investment was basically made 60 years ago at a different time. you have to ask yourself, is that the right way to be investing that asset? the critical question is, 10
years from now do we want to be known as the television country with the best broadband country? we can be both, but if we do not get more into the system, we will not be the best mobile broadbent country, and i think that is really important for this country to aspire to. >> he seemed focused on the commercial spectrum when arguably there are some folks that are not as much either, with federal agents. why are you focusing so much on commercial with the government's right there? >> i have to disagree with the premise. it is true that the press in covering us have focused on that a lot of times, because